Manner of Death: Train

So that guy that dove in front of the Norfolk Train? They identified him and God, I love the media:

County police still are investigating the incident in which Yedlowski was seen darting in and out of traffic along Freeport Road, near the Creighton Hotel, before he reportedly dove in front of the oncoming Norfolk Southern train about 10:25 p.m. Yedlowski, of Freeport Road, had been treated for mental illness in the past, authorities said.

The cause of death was head and chest injuries, according to the county coroner’s office.

The cause of death was head and chest injuries? No shit!? See now, I would have thought that if a person were to dive in front of a speeding train a heart attack would kill him before the actual locomotive did.

But what do I know. I’m not a coroner. Now, had PittGirl been a coroner you can bet that the line next to “Manner/Cause of Death” as released to the media would read: “Duh! He dove in front of a speeding train!”

I get that they need to do an autopsy to determine toxicology and shit like that, but did the Trib really feel it necessary to let us know that it was in fact the TRAIN that killed him? Just saying is all.


  1. Rob
    November 16, 2005 2:18 pm

    The question is how the train killed him. He died from head and chest injuries. Cause of death could have been from decapitation, exanguination because of an amputated limb, pulmonary edema secondary to chest trauma, traumatic asphyxia (still possible — papers might have reported this one as “head and chest injuries”), pericardial tamponade, evisceration, etc.

    The cause of death lets you know what manner of death he died and whether he ever had a chance to survive. Lots of folk do, thanks to paramedics. An accident prone street person (now dead) that I was quite familiar with listed, among his accomplishments, surviving being run over by a train.

    Maybe it’s morbid, but hearing “chest and head injuries” tells me the medics fought a valiant but doomed battle with this guy’s injuries.

  2. pittgirl
    November 16, 2005 2:21 pm

    Man, did you ever get more out of “chest and head injuries” than I did. Fair enough.

  3. blee1
    November 16, 2005 2:35 pm

    Dealing with Paramedics and saving lives, my GF is an EMT and I can tell you, after helping her study and hear the stories from the job… most of the time they can’t do a whole hell of a lot.

    At least, not like on TV.

    She also made me remove my organ donor from my drivers licence because she says the doctors/paramedics won’t use certain possible life saving drugs when they see that since the drug could ruin the reusability of the organ..

  4. pittgirl
    November 16, 2005 2:41 pm

    Dude, please tell me you are joking about the organ donor thing?! I’ve got that on my license and I want them to do every damn thing they can to save my hot ass if I’m ever in need of it.

  5. blee1
    November 16, 2005 3:20 pm

    Not joking. Most of my GF’s relatives are in the medical field and they all said the same thing. If you want a better chance of living, don’t be an organ donor.

  6. Rob
    November 17, 2005 9:48 am


    I’m trying to find a polite way to say “That’s nonsense.”

    I’ve taught Advanced Cardiac Life Support to doctors — that’s the class where (among other things) docs, nurses, and paramedics learn to restart someone’s heart. All drugs are used for resuscitation when appropriate — regardless of patient’s organ donor status. I was also a Basic Trauma Life Support instructor: same thing. I’ve taken the other trauma course, and there was never anything in lectures or reading material about holding back drugs because a patient was a potential organ donor. Same thing with Pediatric Advanced Life Support.

    If a drug is indicated to save a patient’s life, it will be used. The only priority is to the patient (excluding triage situations). There’s a secondary consideration as well.Completely dead people aren’t good organ donors. Folks that have beating hearts but are brain dead are good donors because you have time to get a tissue match, check for nasty viruses, etc. So any drug that will resuscitate the patient will be used. If it’s incompatible with transplantation, just wait for it to clear from the system in the brain dead but heart-beating patient.

    It’s actually rare in trauma or cardiac arrest situations that the doctors know someone is an organ donor. Most of the time, they’re too busy saving people — and I have been involved in some amazing saves myself.

    Of course, I was a medic for 11+ years with Pittsburgh. Running 6-8 calls a day 5 days a week 50 weeks a year over that time, you see a lot. There’s a lot of people whom I figured for dead who walked out of the hospital under their own power because of me and my co-workers. We do make a difference, and I’m sorry your GF doesn’t see it that way. Maybe it’s because I worked for one of the best EMS services in the country, but my view is completely different.

    One case where organ donor status made a difference was when they were about to call a code. The ER this happened at is long gone, but the doctor checked organ donor status. The cardiac arrest had gone on for a while, and the doctor was concerned that he’d simply be creating a vegetable if he continued the resuscitation. On finding out the patient was an organ donor, the possibility of brain death no longer became a problem — it might be an advantage — and they continued the resuscitation. The heart did begin pumping on its own. As it turned out, the resuscitated patient, while mildly brain damaged, lived and went back to an enjoyable life.

    That’s why I’ve got an organ donor stamp on my driver’s license.

  7. pittgirl
    November 17, 2005 10:14 am

    Now I’m all confused. Maybe I’m just going to put a card near my license that says, “Save me please. Even if you might destroy an organ . . . go for it. Please save my hot ass. Organ donation is a last resort.”

    The thing is that once a paramedic friend of mine kind of hinted at the same thing Blee did, so I don’t know what to believe.

  8. Rob
    November 17, 2005 12:18 pm

    The case that might be confusing everyone would be where medication would be withheld from a brain-dead patient who was being prepped for transplant. This would be someone who was already declared dead and the heart kept breathing and lungs ventilated via machine so that the organs could be harvested.

    Please talk with your doctor. As a paramedic instructor, I ran into many, many urban legends and rumors such as this.

    My undergrad degree was in biology and chemistry. I have many grad courses under my belt. One of the issues that I taught and one of the issues that was a constant concern while I was employed as a paramedic was medical ethics.

    I’m a big proponent of organ transplantation. I’ve worked with organ transplant teams and personally know some folks who are on Presby’s organ procurement team.

    Really, organ donation does not endanger your life. If anything, it might save it.

    Finally, I’d point out that I’m not in need of a transplant, and no one I care about is, either. I do not benefit from this.

    When my father was dying, he and I made every attempt to see that anything usable would have been harvested. Unfortunately, because his form of liver failure was not well understood at the time, nothing was saved…but we tried.